Montana Public Radio

Patrick Barkey

A new report shows Missoula’s growing population, combined with a tight housing supply continues to drive high demand and ever higher home prices.

Housing prices may dip in the short term due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. The long-term effects on real estate are still unclear.

Many Montana companies are struggling to find suitable workers to fill job openings. Researchers and industry experts at a seminar in Bozeman Wednesday say there aren’t enough skilled applicants. But educators say they see opportunities in more apprenticeships.

 


Montana’s most populated county may be reaching an economic equilibrium following a drop in oil prices in 2014 thanks to a strong base of manufacturing support services. 

iStock

Researchers say government activity in Lewis and Clark County continues to insulate the area from major economic swings. But an outlook released Tuesday by University of Montana analysts shows wage growth in the area lags behind the state as a whole.

Montana saw wage growth in 2019, but an economic slowdown is expected in coming years, according to University of Montana researchers. The Bureau of Business and Economic Research released its annual outlook Tuesday in Helena.

Employment Impacts of Hutterite Communities in Montana
UM Bureau of Business and Economic Research

Montana’s communal, agrarian Hutterite colonies are unfamiliar to many outsiders, but a first-of-its kind study shows the religious sect’s statewide economic impact can’t be ignored.

Hutterite communities pack an economic wallop, even in non-Hutterite sectors of Montana’s economy. That’s according to a study released Tuesday by researchers at the University of Montana and Montana State University.

Measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.
iStock

UK-based drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline today announced $100 million of new investment in its Hamilton manufacturing site.

The company said in a statement that it will expand its capacity to produce components used in several vaccines, including two that help prevent malaria and shingles.

Housing costs in Montana relative to the U.S. and other Western states.
BBER analysis of 2016 American Community Survey (1-year). / http://www.bber.umt.edu/pubs/seminars/2018/EconRpt2018.pdf

Housing prices in Montana continue to rise, but how affordable housing looks depends a lot on where you stand. Economists from the University of Montana are focusing on affordable housing in their annual series of economic outlook seminars. The first was in Helena Tuesday, nine more are scheduled across the state between now and mid-March.

Cash register.
(PD)

Late last year Montana lawmakers carved about $170 million from state spending. That led to big cuts – for example, the state health department lost 4.5 percent of its budget, which slashed critical services for some of Montana’s most vulnerable.

Would a new revenue source, such as a sales tax, help prevent future budget crises?

Power plant at Colstrip, MT.
Beth Saboe / MontanaPBS

A new study funded in part by the coal industry says shutting down of Colstrip’s two newer, larger coal-fired electricity generators in the next decade could have a huge impact statewide.

Colstrip’s two older units, 1 and 2, will shut down no later than July 2022 because of a Clean Air Act lawsuit settlement. But the future of the newer units, 3 and 4, remains uncertain.

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